8th Pavia Graduate Conference in Political Philosophy – Abstract/Hejazi

Omid Hejazi

Two Liberal Theories of Minority Rights: Universal or Particular?

My aim in this paper is to go over the two main arguments for the cultural rights of national minorities and explain why I think neither of them is successful in justifying minority rights at the international level. These are the arguments from the autonomy of individuals and the arguments from nation-building. I will argue that the autonomy-based arguments fail to justify the actual practice of minority rights as it is recognized in different parts of the world. Besides, the theory controversially and unsuccessfully tries to deduce minority rights from a single fundamental moral value i.e. autonomy. The argument from nation-building, however, does a better job in justifying the current practice. Nevertheless, when applied universally, it is facing some serious challenges, including normative and pragmatic ones. It will be argued that our available theories are not developed enough to account for the mixture of dissimilar threats that exist in different parts of the world for national minorities.